Express News Service

PATNA: Officials in Bihar say that measures taken to quell the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are paying off, with only 11 new cases reported in the state in the last 24 hours, of which four were from Patna and the rest from six other districts on Friday.

Amid the dwindling cases of COVID-19, Patna and other districts of Bihar have figured in the latest list of the top performing 754 districts of the country in terms of vaccination, with the state capital ranking 10th.

Additional chief secretary of the health department Pratay Amrit — the man behind the success working under the guidelines of CM Nitish Kumar and the health minister — said that the state focused on tracing, testing and treating (T-3) approach in mission mode.

“We intensified testing along with promoting people’s adherence to safety protocols through various modes of communication. Results started coming when the percentage of people wearing masks rose to nearly 80-90,” Amrit said, adding that mass vaccinations across both rural and urban areas were accelerated.

Even now when many of state’s districts are under floods, vaccinations continue through boat ambulance-cum-vaccination units in districts like Khagaria, Patna and others.

Amrit said initially a bit of hesitancy for vaccination was witnessed among the people but when the myths and fears were dispelled, a massive turnout has been seen across the state for the jabs.

“It shows that the level of awareness has grown among the people on the benefits of vaccination. You will also be surprised to see the high women’s turnout for the vaccination,” he said, adding that despite the drastic fall in new cases, the state health department has not turned lax in keeping a vigil on the pandemic.

Asked about incidents of wrong names of vaccines mentioned in the certificates, Amrit said such technical mistakes would be fixed. It may be recalled that Shubham Thakur and Shivam Thakur, both of Hajipur, were administered with first doses of Covishield but Covaxin appeared on their provisional certificates causing problems to them in getting the second doses administered. The two youths have still not been administered the second doses.

On being asked how the state is prepared on the oxygen front amid apprehensions of a third wave looming large, he said that 122 PSA oxygen plants are being installed and the state would have no shortage of oxygen. “We have also planned to set up pediatric units in 36 hospitals equipped with oxygen and other medical facilities for children,” he said.

He also said the state education department is ensuring proper adherence to safety protocols in schools.

In the last week, no death due to COVID-19 has been reported. Amrit said the recovery rate has gone up to 98.63% with only 168 active cases under treatment in the state.